Balance of powers

Broadcasting to AmericaJohn Curtin preparing to broadcast to the United States. JCPML00562/2

Opposition to Churchill
Curtin and Churchill engaged in a heated exchange of top secret cables concerning control of the 6th and 7th divisions of Australian troops returning from the Middle East to protect British interests.

After the fall of Singapore, Curtin wanted the troops returned to Australia to defend the homeland against a possible Japanese invasion, but Churchill unilaterally diverted the Australian 7th Division to Burma.

An angry Curtin countermanded Churchill's order, telling the British prime minister that "it was quite impossible to reverse a decision which we have made with the utmost care."

Curtin and MacArthurJohn Curtin welcomes General Douglas MacArthur to Sydney, 8 June 1942. JCPML00376/69:

Address to America
Curtin was the first Australian prime minister to address the American people in a radio broadcast on 14 March 1942, just days before the arrival of General Douglas MacArthur to take up his appointment as Supreme Commander of the South West Pacific Area as agreed between President Roosevelt and Curtin.

A close relationship with the United States was essential to Australia's defence interests. By mid-September 1942 the Japanese were pushed back along the Kokoda Track in New Guinea and the tide of the war was turning.

Advisory War Council minutes

An excerpt from the Advisory War Council Minutes of 18 February 1942 detailing points from a discussion with the Lieutenant-Governor-General of the Netherlands East Indies.
Records of Dept. of Foreign Affairs. JCPML00869/1051-52

Silver platter presented to John Curtin

A silver platter recognising the hard work of John Curtin during his wartime prime ministership. The inscription reads: "Presented to the Leader of the Parlliamentary Labor Party. Prime Minister John Curtin. From his colleagues. 1.7.43". JCPML00287/1


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